Lapis lazuli and chain mail set

Lapis lazuli and pyrite pair up with chain mail to make a necklace and bracelet set with old-world appeal
Beads
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Lapis lazuli, or “stone of azure,” was one of the first stones used in jewelry. It was highly prized by ancient Egyptian pharaohs for its intense blue, and it remains popular today. Lapis is often found near pyrite deposits. The best quality lapis has tiny specks of pyrite evenly distributed throughout the stone. The beads used here have large pyrite inclusions and are a less-expensive option than those of a higher grade.

MATERIALS

necklace

  • 7 12mm round lapis beads (Fire Mountain Gems, firemountaingems.com)
  • 38 4mm round lapis beads
  • 13 6mm flat square pyrite beads (Eclectica, eclecticabeads.com)
  • 4 3mm round pyrite beads
  • 16 2mm round silver beads
  • 4 ft. (1.2m) 22-gauge sterling silver half-hard wire
  • 49 11⁄2-in. (3.8cm) head pins
  • 13 6mm 16-gauge twisted-wire jump rings (Rio Grande, riogrande.com)
  • 106 5mm 18-gauge jump rings (Rio Grande)
  • clasp
  • 2 pairs of chainnose pliers (or chainnose and bentnose)
  • roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters

bracelet

  • 4 12mm round lapis beads (Fire Mountain Gems)
  • 20 4mm round lapis beads
  • 10 6mm flat square pyrite beads (Eclectica)
  • 8 2mm round silver beads
  • 14 in. (36cm) 22-gauge sterling silver half-hard wire
  • 31 11⁄2-in. (3.8cm) head pins
  • 2 7mm jump rings
  • 5 6mm 16-gauge twisted-wire jump rings (Rio Grande)
  • 42 5mm 18-gauge jump rings (Rio Grande)
  • clasp
  • 2 pairs of chainnose pliers (or chainnose and bentnose)
  • roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters

INSTRUCTIONS

Necklace

Lapis lazuli_necklace 1
1. Open four 5mm (A) jump rings and close four A jump rings. Make two 2+2 links by sliding pairs of open jump rings through pairs of closed jump rings. Close the open jump rings. 
Lapis lazuli_necklace 2

2. Open a 6mm (B) jump ring, and slide it through a pair of As on each 2+2 link. Close the B. Repeat steps 1 and 2a to make a total of 13 units. (My necklace is 18 1⁄2 in./47cm.)

 
Lapis lazuli_necklace 3
3. Cut a 3 1⁄2-in. (8.9cm) piece of 22-gauge wire, and make the first half of a wrapped loop at one end. The wrapped loop needs to be large enough to accommodate two 16-gauge jump rings. Repeat to make a total of 12 wrapped-loop units.
Lapis lazuli_necklace 4 a

4. With a jump-ring unit, flip an end pair of As back to expose the inner pair of As.

Lapis lazuli_necklace 4 b

5. Spread this pair of As to expose the flipped pair.

Lapis lazuli_necklace 4 c

6. Attach a wrapped loop to the flipped As; complete the wraps.

Lapis lazuli_necklace 4 d
7. String a 2mm silver bead, a 12mm lapis bead, and a 2mm on the wire, and make the first half of a large wrapped loop. 
 
Lapis lazuli_necklace 5 and 6

8. With a jump-ring unit, flip an end pair of As back to expose the inner pair of As. Spread this pair of As, and attach the flipped As to the unfinished wrapped loop from step 4c. Complete the wraps.

 

Repeat steps 4 and 5 twice. Repeat steps 4 and 5 three times, substituting a 4mm lapis bead for the 2mm, 12mm lapis, 2mm group, to make a chain with seven jump-ring units, three 12mm-lapis units, and three 4mm-lapis units. 

Lapis lazuli_necklace 7 and 8

9. To attach the clasp, flip the remaining pair of As on the last jump-ring unit. Open an A, and attach it to the flipped jump rings and half of a clasp.

 

Repeat steps 4–7 on the other side of the first jump ring unit. The completed chain consists of 13 jump-ring units alternating with three 4mm-lapis units, six 12mm-lapis units, and three 4mm-lapis units.

Lapis lazuli_necklace 9

10. On a head pin, string a 6mm square pyrite bead, and make the first half of a wrapped loop. Make a total of 12 6mm-pyrite bead units. Repeat with 4mm round lapis beads to make a total of 32 4mm-lapis bead units. Repeat with 3mm pyrite beads to make a total of four 3mm-pyrite bead units.

 
On a head pin, string a 2mm, a 12mm lapis, and a 2mm, and make the first half of a wrapped loop that is large enough to accommodate multiple bead units.

Lapis lazuli_necklace 10
11. Cut a 3-in. (7.6cm) piece of wire. Make a wrapped loop at one end, string a 6mm square pyrite bead, and make the first half of a wrapped loop. 
Lapis lazuli_necklace 11
12. Locate the middle B jump ring on the chain, attach the unfinished wrapped loop, and complete the wraps.
Lapis lazuli_necklace 12

13. On each side of the pyrite dangle, attach two 4mm-lapis units and one 3mm-pyrite unit to the B. Attach the wrapped loop of the 12mm lapis bead to the remaining loop of the 6mm-pyrite unit.

Lapis lazuli_necklace 13
14. To each side of the 12mm’s loop, attach two 4mm-lapis units and one 3mm-pyrite unit.
Lapis lazuli_necklace 14
15. On each remaining B, attach a 4mm-lapis unit, a 6mm-pyrite unit, and a 4mm-lapis unit. Make sure all the bead units hang from the same side of the necklace and that the chain isn’t twisted. 
Full necklace

Editor’s note

Prior to the invention of synthetic colorings, ground lapis was used to create the paint pigment ultramarine.

Bracelet
Lapis lazuli_bracelet 1 2 3

1. Make five jump-ring units as in steps 1 and 2a of the necklace.

 

2. Cut four 31⁄2-in. (8.9cm) pieces of wire, and make the first half of a wrapped loop at one end of each.

 

3. Open a 7mm jump ring, and attach it to half of a clasp and one jump-ring unit, as in step 7 of the necklace.
Full bracelet

Budget option

Pair cobalt-colored glass with gray or silver fiber-optic beads for modern appeal. If you have trouble finding flat, square beads for the dangles, this design will look equally good with coin-shaped beads, tubes, or cubes.

Lapis lazuli_bracelet 4
4. Connect the jump-ring units to the wrapped loops, adding a 2mm silver bead, a 12mm lapis bead, and a 2mm on each wire as you go, as in steps 4 and 5 of the necklace.
Lapis lazuli_bracelet 5
5. Attach the other half of the clasp to the end jump-ring unit, as in step 3.
Lapis lazuli_bracelet 6

6. a. On a head pin, string a 6mm square pyrite bead, and make the first half of a wrapped loop. Make a total of ten 6mm-pyrite units.

 

b. On a head pin, string a 4mm round lapis bead, and make the first half of a wrapped loop. Make a total of 20 4mm-lapis units. 

Lapis lazuli_bracelet 7
7. To each side of a B, attach a 4mm-lapis unit, a 6mm-pyrite unit, and a 4mm-lapis unit, and finish the wraps. Repeat on the remaining Bs.
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